Rob Fitzpatrick‘s book The Mom Test and Arvid Kahl‘s idea to become an Embedded Entrepreneur fit together perfectly.
That’s certainly not a surprise, since Arvid famously used Rob’s approach to build his business FeedbackPanda (which he eventually sold for life-changing $).

In the following I summarize and discuss the commonalities of these two business building approaches.
And I added some of my own thoughts which hopefully help you (and meπŸ˜…) to find a fitting community and eventually build a life-changing business.πŸ€—

Commonalities between The Mom Test & The Embedded Entrepreneur

Both, Arvid and Rob, recommend that you embed yourself in a clear peer group which potentially, eventually becomes your target group once you build a business for them.
But first things first.

You want to become part of a certain community in order to enable casual conversations.
The more your enjoy being part of the community, the better.
Optimally you want to be part of a community with whose members you simply love to spend time with!

The more natural it feels the better data you’ll probably collect, the more fun you’ll have and the better you’ll understand the problems of the respective community.
So that you’ll eventually solve these problems perfectly and way better then anyone else will ever be able to.

Embedded Entrepreneur: Advantages

Let’s just point out a few not to be underestimated advantages of the Embedded Entrepreneur approach:

  • you potentially solve your own problems
  • you become a trusted member (easier to have honest, casual conversations)
  • access to information and crucial players easier and more natural
  • network effects: acquaintances potentially grow exponentially

Before you start a Business

In his book The Mom Test, Rob Fitzpatrick assumes that you already have a business or at least an idea for which you want to collect data.
But from my point of view that’s not even necessary.
Maybe your are simply an open-minded person with an idea like “I’d like to build a business. But I simply don’t know which problem I could solve for whomβ€¦πŸ€””

The idea of building a business based on The Mom Test by being an Embedded Entrepreneur may work even better if you don’t even have a clear business idea yet.
Not having a clear business idea yet, is a huge advantage because you can simply not be biased or collect praises for your business idea accidentally.πŸ‘

Either you are already a committed member of a certain community or you are just interested in a particular topic.
You either already know where you find your peers or you assimilate into such a peer group, in order to find out if they will become the group of your passion.

This is a great starting point to chat openly and casually with people about their experiences, challenges and problems.
That way you find out which problems exist for a particular group of people and eventually you’ll even develop ideas how you can solve them.

And apropos of nothing, this might even be a great way to find your passion.πŸ€—

Long-Term Opportunity & Friendships

It should be clear that building a prospering business won’t be a quick side project.
A side project evolved from your existing community may be the origin of your business.
But you should regard your business as a long-term relationship with people you like as well as a great opportunity for them and for yourself.

Be aware of the fact that if you eventually develop a striking business idea, you’ll probably spend several years (figure on 5+ years) building and maintaining it.
If you already know that you don’t want to spend that much time with the respective community, you may be better of finding another lovely community.πŸ˜…

That’s why Arvid Kahl often stresses the point that you should pick your niche (hence your community) wisely!

When you start a business, you have to understand that this is going to be a multi-year commitment.

Be ready to work on that business for a long time β€” with ups and downs every single day. You’ll have to show up relentlessly.

You can’t rush destiny.β€” Arvid Kahl (@arvidkahl) July 7, 2022

Optimally you simply start out with a community you are already part of.
If you don’t have such a community, you have the freedom as well as the pressure to pick a community.

Ideally you’ll spend several years with them in a very tight relationship.πŸ€—
You’ll not only solve their problems.
You’ll solve their problems together with them.

That’s going to be great… but hard work as well.
You better enjoy it!πŸ€—

Embedded in the Community: Part of the Business

The recommendation, which I take away from the combination of Rob Fitzpatrick’s book The Mom Test and Arvid Kahl’s The Embedded Entrepreneur approach is basically the following:
Do what you love, spend your time with the people, communities and culture with whom you actually want to surround yourself – simply because you enjoy the time and you like the community.
Become an active member of such a peer group.
It’s potentially even easier if you don’t have a clear business intention in mind.
Because as soon as you think of something as a business and start to extrapolate the duties related to it into the future, you’ll likely get discouraged way faster than by just being part of a community which you like.πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦πŸ€—

If you already have hobbies or if you are already part of some kind of community anyway, that’s certainly a great advantage.
Most of us are probably part of any community already.
Or we have something which we are passionate about (at least to some extend).

Find Your Passion

If you feel like you don’t really have a community or a passion for which you’d like to build a business:
Embrace the fact that you are free to choose whatever you want to learn.
Go out, travel the world and join fringe subcultures:

Yes indeed, do super weird shit. You’re now the most generic you’ll ever be which is a giant competitive disadvantage in the rest of your life. Become different thru crazy/weird/random experiencesβ€” @levelsio (@levelsio) December 16, 2019

Become unique and you’ll become part of unique subcultures.
That’s where you’ll have a great competitive advantage.

Building Niche Businesses is Easier

Many successful entrepreneurs claim that it’s easier to start building businesses for small communities and subcultures.
From a business perspective that’s what we call niches.

There are many reasons that it’s easier to start building businesses in niches and small community subcultures.
Some of them are:

  • friendlier relationships (more casual and honest)
  • more trust
  • less competition

By starting to serve a particular subculture, you define your target group clearly.
This helps you to stay focused on a particular set of main problems which you solve.
You don’t want to have everyone as your customer.
But before you even think of customers you want to find people with problems.
If you find a community of people with a certain a set of similar problems, that’s great.
If you are able to solve these problems: Perfect!πŸ₯³
If they even pay you for solving their problems: Congrats, you have a business!πŸ€—

By developing one clear solution to one clear problem of one clear subculture, in which you are embedded(!), you define your target group perfectly.
This is certainly an advantage which most (even established) businesses are lacking!
And you do not only have this target group.
You even have access to its inner community – because they are simply your friends.πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦
How cool is that?!πŸ˜„

Holistic Business Building Approach

This is not only a great business building approach for bootstrapped tech startups.
From my point of view, embedding yourself in a certain peer group, in order to build a successful business, is something which probably works for most industries.

It might not not seem to be so straight forward in other industries, if you are a techie.
But to be honest, that’s actually how people built business for hundreds and thousands of years.πŸ˜…
Maybe that’s even the only way to build businesses?!πŸ€”

Being Embedded to gather Information

However, you simply want to have an accessible network of people with whom you can talk about a particular topic.
You want to know everything about their approaches towards that hobby, business or approach.
How do you do that?

Rob actually breaks that down perfectly in The Mom Test:
If you are (or simply pretend to be) a researcher, that’s the perfect excuse to talk to literally anyone who might somehow be interesting for you in order to gain more knowledge about a particular topic.

And that’s another great thing which Rob thereby reveals:
Your main goal should actually be to gain as much unbiased(!) knowledge about whichever topic you are focusing on.

Your goal shouldn’t be to pitch your already existing product(πŸ›‘)!
As soon as you pitch, you simply don’t get valuable responses anymore.
Instead you rather get praises and approval.
That’s what you want to avoid!πŸ›‘

What you actually want is an unbiased description of the experiences from the folks of your lovely community.πŸ€—
They are responsible to describe their problems and how they are currently solving (or trying to solve) them, while you are responsible to come up with solutions.

In short:

  • no pitching from your side
  • no praises and no feature requests from your collocutors side.πŸ‘

Happy Business Building!πŸ€—